Friday, August 17, 2007


The next morning, Diana rose early and dressed herself by the dim light of a tallow candle. She brushed out her hair and re-braided it, threading it with a black ribbon. Then she coiled and pinned it at the nape of her neck. She leaned into the mirror and examined her reflection. Even in the candle's warm glow, the stark hairstyle and black dress made her eyes look too big, her skin too pale. She wished Amalia had left her some makeup. Surely Macy would have some, though. Nothing unnatural—just a touch of color to counter all this black.

She went to the bed, where Will was still sleeping. There was something boyish about his features in these unguarded moments that reminded her of those first years together on the reservation, when they were still children. She missed that softness in him. It was still there on the inside, but he almost never let it show any more when he was awake. A wave of affection washed through her and for a moment she forgot the burden of being married and only remembered the closeness they had always shared.

She put a hand on his shoulder. "Wake up."

He opened his eyes. "You sure look grown up and serious."

"Spy mission at the church today. Remember?"

He sat up and ran his fingers through his hair. "Yeah, I remember. I guess I better get dressed."

"I'll be in Macy and Coyote's room. Meet me there." She hurried out the door before he could invent a reason for her to stay.

When she got to her friends’ room, she tapped on the door. Getting no response, she gave it a shove. The lock appeared to be broken, but something was preventing it from swinging inward. She tapped again. "Macy!"

There was a giggle and a squeak of old bed springs, then the sound of something being dragged away. Macy pulled the door open and greeted her with an abashed smile, her hair frazzled and unkempt, her black dress rumpled. "Sorry about that. We had a chair against it, since it wouldn't stay closed."

"Couldn't have people wandering in just any old time," Coyote added. He was lying in a tangled mess of blankets, decently covered from the waist down but Diana suspected he wasn't wearing anything underneath. No wonder Macy looked the way she did.

"I came to see if I could borrow some makeup. I look like a ghost in all this black."

"I think you look interesting," Coyote said. "Beautiful and mysterious, you know."

"I don't think that's the look we're trying for."

Macy shrugged. "With your coloring and bone structure, you can't help it." Seeing Diana frown, she added, "But yeah, you can use my makeup, and maybe you can help me with my hair. It's not doing anything for me this morning."

"That would be my fault," Coyote remarked.

"Maybe you ought to think about getting ready, too," Macy told him.

In the bathroom, Diana combed out Macy's hair, twisted it up and pinned it in place. Then Macy rouged Diana's cheeks and dabbed on a bit of lipstick, powdering it matte so it would look natural. "What a hassle," Diana muttered. "I can't imagine why women used to do this every day."

They were still fussing over each other in front of the bathroom mirror when there was a knock on the door. Grumbling, Coyote wrapped himself in a blanket and went to answer. "Welcome to the new Unitas headquarters."

"Did you bring breakfast?" Macy called.

"No, just looking for my wife."

"We're almost ready," Diana said, "But you might want to see if you can get your friend to hurry up."

Will glanced at Coyote and shrugged. "We guys don't take long. But you two sure look pretty."

"We're supposed to," Macy said. "We hear they take church seriously in Amargo." She pulled a triangle of lace out of her pocket. "We've even got mantillas, just in case."

"And rosaries," Diana added. "I'm still trying to figure out what to do with mine, but at least I've got all the responses to the mass memorized. My poor Lutheran mother is probably spinning in her grave."

"I don't know why people get so excited over religion," Coyote said, lying back down. "Isn't it all the same God? Is he really that hung up on what words you use to talk to him, and what you're wearing on your head?"

"Apparently so." Macy draped her mantilla over her hair and folded her hands. "What do you think? Do I look pious?"

Coyote gave a wicked grin. "Yeah. You sure we got to leave now? All this prim and proper stuff is giving me ideas."

Macy took off the mantilla and swatted him with it, then squealed as he yanked her onto the bed where they tussled like a pair of frisky puppies. And yes, Coyote was indeed naked under the blanket.

Diana looked at Will, not sure if she should laugh or be embarrassed. "I think maybe we should leave so someone can get dressed."

Macy tossed a blanket across Coyote's hips and scrambled to her feet. "Yeah, we've got to get on the road or we'll be late for mass."

"Can't keep God waiting," Coyote agreed, launching himself out of bed.

Macy came over to Diana and ducked her head. "Do you mind fixing my hair again?"

"It doesn't look so bad. It's just one piece that fell out." She adjusted a few pins. "There." She took hold of Macy's wrist. "Now let's go, before your crazy boyfriend tries anything else."


Alice Audrey said...

Such a difference between the two couples.

Great foil.

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

This is one of my favorite chapters. There are later chapters that have more depth to them, but Macy and Coyote are a lot of fun.

Alice Audrey said...

I think that's why I like Coyote so much. Outside of a tendency to blow things up, he's a nice guy but not too serious.